Monday, January 25, 2010

Snowy Potosi

This past week we had SEVERE rain in LA for four days straight, no exaggeration. Freeways turned into rivers. Entire communities were evacuated for fear of landslides. Serious precipitation. As I left LA for Vegas on Friday I could see SO much snow on the mountains along the way.

Here is a view of Clark Mountain. Can you recognize the country's hardest sport climb?

Apparently as the storms left LA they hit Vegas just as hard. The mountains to the west of town were also covered, as was the bigwall skyline of Red Rocks.

I decided to go up to Mt. Potosi anyway yesterday with Bill and Andy. Although we had to endure this on the approach ...

... it was worth it because we were headed to this.

I climbed a few of the easier classics, including a nice 12b called Santorini.

Bill worked his project, T2, and Andy sampled a bunch of the crags hard lines.

Andy setting off into the first 5.12 section of T2 (13d in its entirety)

Oddly enough, as hard on me as the hike was, I decided to go back today with Jarrett. Can you believe my surprise when I got up there and realized I didn't have the strength to climb hard today?

I hope my next post is from Hueco.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

An Afternoon at the Getty

Yesterday afternoon, we went to the Getty. It is possible that I have never seen LA so clear.

Gorgeous. Now I'm off to go climbing.

3 days in London

While our stay in London was brief, it was very nice. We stayed in a neighborhood of northeast London with some distant relatives of Maya's. Charlotte Hodes, an accomplished artist, is Maya's father's third cousin, which to my new understanding means that her children, William and Lauren, are Maya's fourth cousins. Charlotte's husband, Paul (1, 2) is also a talented working artist, and Maya and I felt right at home in their Finsbury Park townhouse.

The first evening we were there we met up with Mollie Claypool, a friend from Pratt who was a year ahead of us and has now graduated from the AA's Histories and Theories program and currently teaches in the DRL program, coincidentally the program Maya is applying to. We went to a baller little pub called The Dove, where we enjoyed a few great Belgian beers and the best burger I've had outside of the states. Both Maya and I were proud of ourselves for navigating the 236 bus line back to Finsbury Park effectively, even after a few 9% Chimay blues.

The next day we ventured out.

Walking through Finsbury Park.

A school we passed on our way to the "tube."

Maya had raved about the Modern Tate, so we went there first thing.

By the time we left the museum it was dark.

The next day, we met Mollie at the AA so Maya could get a quick tour around. I felt weird about taking pictures, so there are none, but the school is organized in a very cool way.
From there, we went to the firm of a guy who teaches at the AA and Yale who was willing to meet with Maya to talk about schools, his experience, and look at her portfolio.

And once again, by the time we got out, it was dark.

At 9 am the next morning, we flew out in a snow storm. De-icing the plane was a half hour process in and of itself.

As nice a diversion as London was, we're very happy to be back in sunny LA.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

ISRAEL (is real)

WOW. Israel was amazing. I already wish I was still there. The limestone truly is world class. It is unfortunate that while the rock is amazing, climbers only legally have the right to climb in a few specific nature reserves. Fortunately, the Israel Alpine Club is working hard to open up new crags. The areas they've got stand on their own with amazing features, tufas and pockets abound, and beautiful scenery (you can't beat the Mediterranean). I took LOTS of photos of Ofer Blutrich, Elad Omer, and others on killer routes, and here are a few half decent shots.

Ofer Blutrich on his "Jekyll and Hyde," 8a+/8b

Ofer pulling through one of the many cruxes of "Madness," 8c, another of his hard FAs.

Ofer pulling onto the upper headwall of "Madness," 8c

Rest days in Tel Aviv are a nice distraction from the aching tendons and sore muscles. Luckily I have great people to spend my time with there.

A view of Tel Aviv from the old city of Jaffa (Yafo)

Shawarma humus plate in old city Jaffa. Pretty much heaven.

Our last day climbing was Friday, and I didn't really take climbing photos, as I had captured more than enough on previous days. Here is a photo Maya took of me on Ofer's "Hyper Fuel," 8a/+(5.13b/c) just moments before losing hope of sending it this trip and taking yet another huge whipper. Because of the angle, looking straight up at the steep overhang, to the left you can see most of the super classic "Ali Baba," a bouldery 5.12c/7b+, and the hardest climb I actually sent of the trip.

Elad Omer belaying jovially.

Ofer Blutrich and Inbal Katzanelson at Gita.

I was convinced that my experience of the "scene" wouldn't be complete without a tour of the "LULE" or chicken coop-turned-bouldering-gym, just outside of Haifa. They were right. It's the shit.



Ofer and I standing under the 60 degree wall, deciphering a difficult move.

Myself, really pulling Hard.

Saturday, our last day in Israel, was no longer for climbing, but for family ... Maya's mother's side, specifically. We met in Ceasariya for lunch at a pretty great restaurant. Maya's cousins on that side all have kids, who make great models. This day is highly abridged out of necessity.
Here is Bar, posing in her "boots with the fur."

Here is Bar with her older cousin Noah, Maya is sitting in the background.

After lunch, Maya, her parents, and I went into the old city of Ceasariya, which is actually a national park of ancient Roman, Byzantine, and Crusader period ruins, right on the sea.
This used to be a moat.

How many places can you just go playing on top of ruins like this?

Or go swimming out on top of ruins like this?

The power plant at Ceasariya, just south of the old city's Roman theater, is its darker side. It just doesn't feel like it belongs.

Maya being pretty.

This morning, we flew from Tel Aviv to London, where Maya and I will be staying for three days with very distant relatives of hers, both of whom are artists, so I feel right at home. Well, almost. I don't foresee myself getting used to English expressions any time soon.

Here is the view from our window on Oakfield, looking an awful lot like Brooklyn does this time of year.

We are here so Maya can check out the AA (Architecture Association), which is one of her top choices for graduate school, so I may have to get used to this weather again.

More perhaps when we return stateside.